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5 questions with Kyle Singler

[private]You would have played Xavier if the team had advanced past West Virginia this past March …

Things happen.  You’re going to have upsets.  Xavier is a real good team and we look forward to playing them.

What are your thoughts on the three point shot and the line being moved back?

You don’t really notice during the game.  If any thing makes a difference, it’s you can get a little bit tired and you shoot short on the shot.  The shot’s not really that much farther back.  I like it because it’s different and brings a different dynamic to the game.

What do you think of Paulus and Smith at the point guard spot?

They both play hard.  If you play hard and win games you earn respect from your teammates.

Did the team take any solace in the fact that they didn’t shoot the ball well in the loss to Michigan?

I don’t know with a loss like that.  We just didn’t play very well and Michigan played good enough to win.  You get the feel that they wanted it more and this team has to be the one which wants it more.

How do you feel about your play so far this season?

It’s really all about the team.  I think we’ve been good, not great up to his point in the season.   We want to define ourselves as a team so we still have things to work on and get better doing.[/private]

Duke at Michigan Men’s Basketball Notes

[private]

•  Game 9  •

[4 AP/4 Coaches] Duke (8-0) vs. Michigan (5-2)

Saturday, December 6, 2008  •  3:30 PM ET  •  ESPN

Crisler Arena (13,751)  •  Ann Arbor, Mich.

Game Quick Facts

TV: ESPN; Dave O’Brien (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst).

Radio: Duke Radio Network (flagship WDNC 620 AM in Durham); Bob Harris (play-by-play), John Roth (analyst) and Matthew Laurance (sideline).

All-time Series: Duke leads the all-time series 19-7, with a 13-4 mark under Coach K. The Blue Devils have won seven straight in the series, including a 71-56 win over the Wolverines in the championship game of the 2008 2K Sports Classic earlier this season.

Coaches:

Mike Krzyzewski

Overall Record: 811-267 (34th year)

Duke Record: 738-208 (29th year)

vs. Michigan: 13-4

John Beilein

Overall Record: 491-299 (27th year)

Michigan Record: 15-24 (second year)

vs. Duke: 0-3

Blue Devil Bits

l Duke is 8-0 on the year, marking the 20th time in school history and 15th time under Mike Krzyzewski it has opened the season with eight straight wins. The Blue Devils have started the season with at least eight straight wins in four of the last five years.

l The Blue Devils are ranked fourth in the AP poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll.

l Duke has been ranked in the top five of the AP poll 296 times in school history. The Blue Devils are 485-91 (.842) all-time when ranked in the top five.

l Duke is coming off an impressive 76-60  win at ninth-ranked Purdue on Tuesday. The Blue Devils improved to 10-0 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge with the win as the ACC won the challenge (6-4) for the 10th consecutive year.

l Kyle Singler posted his second double-double of the year with 20 points and 12 rebounds against Purdue.

l Junior Jon Scheyer knocked down three three-pointers and went 9-of-10 from the foul line in a 20-point effort against the Boilermakers.

l Duke topped Michigan, 71-56, in the championship game of the 2008 2K Sports Classic on Nov. 21. Sophomore Nolan Smith led the Blue Devils with 16 points, while Kyle Singler (15) and Gerald Henderson (12) also scored in double figures.

Numbers Game

l Duke and Michigan are playing for the second time in 16 days. The two teams also met on Nov. 21 in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic. The Blue Devils have played a non-conference opponent twice in one season three times (joining Michigan State in 2004-05 and Temple in 2000-01).

l Duke is 13-4 all-time on Dec. 6, including a 93-72 win over Michigan in 1967. The Blue Devils have won four straight and are 6-2 on the date under Coach K.

l Duke is 62-23 all-time against teams currently in the Big Ten. The Blue Devils have won seven straight contests against Big Ten opponents (last loss was 78-68 versus Michigan State on March 25, 2005), including wins over Michigan (Nov. 21) and Purdue (Dec. 2) this season.

l Duke is 153-24 all-time in the month of December under Coach K. The Blue Devils are 45-2 in the month since 1999-2000, the only losses coming to No. 3 Stanford (84-83) on Dec. 21, 2000 and No. 11 Pittsburgh in overtime (65-64) on Dec. 20, 2007.

l Duke is 269-52 this decade, more wins than any other team in the NCAA. The win total is tied for the eighth-most in any decade by a team in NCAA history.

l Kyle Singler leads the Blue Devils in scoring (17.1 ppg.), rebounding (7.5 rpg.) and assists (23). Danny Ferry was the last Blue Devil to lead the team in all three categories during the 1986-87 season.

l Senior Greg Paulus is five points shy of passing Jay Bilas and moving into 49th in the Duke scoring charts. Paulus currently has 1,057 career points in 110 games.

l Sophomore Nolan Smith is averaging 16.5 points in two career games against Michigan. He is 13-of-17 (.765) from the field in his two games against the Wolverines. Smith scored a team-high 16 points in Duke’s 71-56 win over Michigan on Nov. 21.

l Duke is second in the ACC in free throw percentage at .744 (180-of-242). Nolan Smith is second in the league with a .909 (20-of-22) free throw percentage, while Jon Scheyer is fifth at .860 (37-of-43).

l The Blue Devils are shooting .555 (166-of-299) from inside the three-point arc this season. Duke is shooting .471 (217-of-461) from the field overall and .329 (48-of-146) from three-point distance.

l Duke outrebounded Purdue, 49-29, on Tuesday for its second game with at least a +20 rebound margin this season. The Blue Devils have outrebounded six of the first eight opponents.

l The Blue Devils are 185-95 in true road games under Mike Krzyzewski. Duke has posted a winning road record in five straight season and it 11 of the past 12 years. Since 1996-97, Duke has recorded a 90-30 mark on the road.

l Junior Jon Scheyer is tied for seventh in the ACC with 2.1 steals per game. He has recorded two or more steals in six times this season.

l Junior Brian Zoubek is 15-of-24 (.625) from the field over the last six games. He is averaging 6.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during that stretch.

l Following the Michigan game, Duke will have 10 days before its next contest on Dec. 17 against UNC Asheville.[/private]

Big Josh Smith talks recruiting with BDN-Premium

Josh Smith (6-9, 280, Kentwood HS, Seattle Rotary AAU) is one of the nation’s most coveted players in the class of 2010.  Duke is but one of many schools in the chase for the talented front court prospects services.   We caught up with Josh and got his thoughts on the recruiting process, timeline of his decision and the schools that are in the race.  Blue Devil Members can continue to read about the latest with one of Duke’s … [private]

Josh dunked for the first time as a 6-4 seventh grader and he hasn’t stopped since that time.  In fact, he had so many blocked shots, that his league changed the rules to keep him from eating up the paint.  His Dad, Josh Senior prefers to be called  “Big Josh,” but he stands at just 6-3 as his son equaled his height by 12 years old.

I approached this interview as Sports Nation Network which I own, seeking honest answers instead of one slanted for the home team. 

The List – Arizona, Duke, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, North Carolina, Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA,  USC, Washington and a couple of others.

Has your high school season started yet?

Yes, it started Monday.  Our first game will be December 5th.  We have one starter back other than myself.

Can you tell me which schools have been the most aggressive in their recruitment of you?

I’d say Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA and Ohio State.

There has been a lot of talk in the past that UCLA was in the drivers seat for your services or that they might lead.  Is there any truth to that?

I would say no.

Suppose somebody had never seen your game – how would you describe it to them?

Over powering, tough in the low post and aggressive.

What are some of the key factors when you think about your pending collegiate choice?

Location won’t be a factor for me.  Style of play could be a factor.

Who do you pattern your game after?

Shaq!  I grew up pulling fo him.  Some have called me “Baby Shaq.”

If you could meet any NBA player, who would you most like to meet?

Dwight Howard.  I like his powerful dunks and that he tries to make his team better.

What style of basketball do you like to play … up and down … structured half court, four out and one in … ?

Four out and one in.

So you like the idea of being the go to guy in that type of offense.

Yes.

So, there is no leader at this time …

No.

Is there a school you are more curious about than others?

I would say there is no leader at this time nor one that I have any stronger interest in more than others.

Are you likely to take all of your allotted official visits which the NCAA allows?

Yeah, I’d probably say I would.  I could make an earlier decision if the situation feels right.

What about the NBA …

Yeah, I want to play in the NBA, but I also have a big desire to play … play in the league.

You’ve mentioned a lot of really good schools, some of which have more success putting guys in the league than others.  Will that kind of thing have a bearing?

Yes, a little bit.  When I get into school my first goal is to be successful there and if I’m lucky or good enough to go to the league, I will start to think about that.

With the exception of Washington and WSU, most of the schools on your list are a good ways off.  So, it’s no problem to go as far east as Kentucky, Duke or UNC?

I wouldn’t have a problem going to the east or anything like that.  It’s like, well in Texas I have family in Dallas and Mississippi down south, so I wouldn’t have a problem to go down there and play, but I don’t have a problem going anywhere.  UCLA is like a ten and a half hour drive or two and a half hour flight.

Who will play a big role in your decision?

Probably my Dad, my Mom, my family and older brother.

How do you like the recruiting process?  Is it tiring, a lot of calls …

I do, but my Dad really handles most of the calls.  It’s not really tiresome though.

Who are the last coaches to have called you?

Coach Matta at Ohio State, Coach Pitino at Louisville … that’s all I know of this past week.  I’m in a get to know process with all the schools.

What are you like off the court?

 I just like to chill with friends, go see movies and do stuff with a lot of other people, whatever is fun.

Josh Smith in three words as a person?

As a person I would say nice, smart and funny.

… three words as a player?

solid, powerful and understanding. [/private]

Duke climbs to 6-0 by defeating Montana in Cameron 78-58

[private]The Duke players and staff barely had time to unpack their bags after two victories in New York before taking on Montana early this afternoon in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Duke had little problem in disposing of their opponent in route to 78-58 a victory.

Once again, Duke was bolstered by its defense and balanced offensive attack.  Four players managed double figure scoring for the fourth time in five games this season.

Leading the way was Nolan Smith and Gerald Henderson with 14 points each.  Smith has been successful at taking over the point guard role this season while “G,” as he is known by teammates, is starting to assert himself.

Kyle Singler chipped in 13 points and Jon Scheyer went for 12 as Duke improved to 6-0 on the young season.

Brian Zoubek continued to get his timing back after off season surgery, having a solid effort of 8 points and 7 rebounds.

Zoubek and the Devils out rebounded the Grizzlies 42-26, holding them under 60 points for the season.  For that matter, the Blue Devils have held all of their opponents, save Rhode Island to under 60 this season.

The win gave Krzyzewski his 809th career victory and Duke won 63rd consecutive game against non conference opponents at home.

Duke looks to go 7-0 on Friday versus Duquesne in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Make no mistake that the players and coaches alike, will take advantage of a much needed Thanksgiving break.

It’s unusual for a team to play six games in November, so the break is coming at a much needed time.  Despite a day or two off, you can bet that Coach K will quickly gravitate toward game tape shortly after a feast during Holiday gatherings.

Duke has shown that they will be a team that thrives on defensive pressure first while letting its offensive chemistry develop.   All things considered, the team is right where it wants to be early – undefeated despite putting its best game on the court yet.

Note – This game was originally scheduled after Thanksgiving, but Montana could only play the game at this time.

Today’s K-ments -

I think today we did a good job against a team that played really hard against us. To me, it capped off a great week for us. You play eight games in four days, and three of the days you’re in New York with not a lot of practice time. I thought our kids played hard for all four games, and they played hard again today. We were able to look at a few things today just in our substitution. There wasn’t a substitution pattern, there were things we were trying to look at as far as who was out there at this particular time instead of subbing en masse. We had 10 guys in double-figure minutes, and that was by design to take a look at a bunch of things. And we wanted to give Greg [Paulus] some recovery time, because he’s just been playing injured. Hopefully the three or four days we can give him will bring that injury along a little bit better. It’s just kind of staying there and that’s hard for him because he wants to play so badly. All of sudden now Jon [Scheyer] was handling the ball, Elliot [Williams] was on the ball and things like that, so it was good for us to take a look at those things.”

 

On Greg Paulus injury -

“He’s never recovered. He’s played the last three ball games hurt. You can see it, I can see it in his shot, in how he extends. It’s just not good yet. It’s a bad bruise and we had an MRI taken against yesterday just to make sure there wasn’t anything in there that we hadn’t seen, and everything they thought was still the right way. It’s part of your body that gets hit a lot in our game. I think it was a wise decision, and it was tough for him to make it because that kid wants to play all the time, but let’s hope it helps.”

 

On Nolan Smith -

“I just want him to keep developing. He’s got a tough position, and it wears on you mentally, not just physically, when you’re responsible for running a team. Last year he didn’t have to do this as the primary guy and all of a sudden this is the fourth game of the week and he’s going to have different people there, and Greg is not going to play for him or with him. I got on him a little bit saying ‘Remember what’s going on today’ and I thought he responded real well and had that burst scoring wise. In the second half, I just reminded him again. How do you get better mental toughness? You do it by not just practice, but you do it by going through these situations. I thought he did a good job today.”

 

On the freshmen’s development, especially Miles Plumlee and Elliot Williams -

“Elliot brings an enthusiasm to play. You can tell right away that he wants to be really good. That doesn’t mean the other guys don’t want to be really good, but you can see it. He showed that up in New York. I was really impressed with how Elliot played up in New York on that stage. He looked like he belonged. When I watch tape, I see some things that you don’t see. Sometimes things just jump off the screen, and his stance really jumped off the screen up in New York. He was so wide and moving so well. He can be really good. In Miles’ case, Miles has a lot of ability and I think when you’re a big guy, it’s such a huge difference from playing in high school to college. The physicality of the game, which distracts you, but he’s got a lot of ability. We just have to keep giving him minutes, and playing with Brian [Zoubek] in practice like that is good for him. And playing with Kyle and Lance, all of sudden the familiarity of playing that way will develop. He’s a kid that could really shoot up quickly once he gets more comfortable on the court.”

 

On Brian Zoubek‘s confidence -

“Brian’s primary thing was his injury. Brian’s a good basketball player. All of sudden he doesn’t have that [injury], he’s lost some weight and he’s running better. Brian runs well for a guy his size. He wears down a little bit, because you’re running a pretty big body. I’m really proud of the way Brian’s working at this thing.”

 

On the break -

“They’ll have Monday off and we’ll come back Tuesday to practice. I didn’t know it because we were in Maui last year that school ends on Tuesday here, so Wednesday becomes a really good day for us. Then it’s Thanksgiving, and then we play and we start another stretch until Michigan and then it’s exams. When we come back we have to look at that period from Tuesday’s practice until when we get back from Michigan as another segment. We’ve ended this segment pretty well and then we go into another one.”

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Coach K talks Southern Illinois, Paulus and Henderson

[private]The four participating coaches in the 2K Coaches for Cancer Classic had their teleconference at noon today.  Here are the majority of Coach K’s comments -

On Team USA Basketball program -

A goal of ours is to bring USA Basketball throughout the age groups, like the seniors – the elite players.  This should filter down sand have the same level for the kids who are developing and those who will be an integral part.

On Coach Lowrey and Southern Illinois -

He is a really good player and we had an outstanding game.  Chris Collins played really well in that game and bobby Hurley.  We had a very good team.  We had Grant and Cherokee … and they were really good.  Coach Lowrey is like an old school coach.  You know fundamentals.  His kids play really well together and each year they not only grow individually, they grow together.  The kid Mullins is really good – he’s such a good leader for them.  He epitomizes the type of player that their program has had over the last ten or so years.  They’ve had some outstanding coaches and outstanding teams.  We have ultimate respect for them.  It’s going to be a great game for us.

On Greg Paulus -

We were off yesterday for the mandatory day off, but he was in for treatment.  He’s doing better.  You could tell he wasn’t close to being 100% on Sunday.  If he doesn’t get injured more in today’s practice or tomorrow, we’ll see how he can keep coming.  We need him.  Greg is an integral part of who we are as a basketball team.  In fact, we feel that he will be much better on Thursday.

Do you separate the Olympic and Duke experience?

You can’t separate those things.  The experience you have as a coach, just accumulative … the experience I’ve had coaching the Olympic team the last four years has helped me, immensely.  It’s furthered me as a coach and the program here at Duke.  It’s like getting a PHD in your sport.  It’s helped me and I would never separate it because the lessons you learn just X’S and O’s wise – the lessons you learn from other coaches and people you complete with.  They’re all relevant as you go forward and now with my Duke job.

On Gerald Henderson -

G” is can be that explosive player for us – the guy that can get his own shot.  I think up to now, he’s putting a little too much pressure on himself.  He’s putting too much pressure on every play trying to be that for us and I think once he gets into a good rhythm. He has a chance to be a better player, one of the best in the country.  He hasn’t played like he wants to or like we wanted him to.  Hopefully, Madison Square Garden will bring out the best in him.

Link to Duke vs Southern Illinois Game Facts and Figures[/private]

John Wall talks of his Memphis visit and scheduling a trip to Duke

John Wall returned from his visit to Memphis on Sunday afternoon and he may pay a visit to Duke possibly on [private] Tuesday of this week, the day before the team leaves for the Coaches versus Cancer 2K Classic in New York.

“Probably some time next week or this week,” said Wall on when that visit might take place.  I then

BDN Photography
BDN Photography

asked if Duke was a serious player at this time and Wall said, “I haven’t been offered yet.  Coach K wants me to sit down and talk to him in person and we’ll take it from there.”

He seemed to have liked his visit to Memphis, bit didn’t elaborate too much on how it went saying, “It went good.  I think it’s a great school with a great environment.  The fans show support and it was a great visit over all.”

When asked who would play the biggest role in his recruitment he stated, “Probably my Mom and my high school and AAU Coach, Brian Clifton.”

Wall also has a criteria which has pretty much remained the same saying, “I’m looking at the style of play, how my relationship might go with the coach.  I like a style that lets you get up and down the court.”

“The thing I most need to work on is my jump shot,” said Wall.  That’s about the only thing which needs polish for Wall is a cat quick point guard who plays good on ball defense and finds his teammates with his unselfish play and terrific passing ability.

“All the teams on my list have been aggressive,” said Wall.  He continued to name his list and Duke was still in it.  “They had showed some interest before and explained to me how they recruit players and once they offer they stick with that player.”

He was of course talking about Kenny Boynton, who recently selected Florida.  That opened the door for Wall.  He also stated that Coach K had handled the majority of the process.

I asked the young prospect to describe his game in his own words.  “I’d say clutch and I can lead my team to victory and get other people involved and he can lead his team to victory,” said Wall.  As a person, he said, “I’m cool, like to have fun and try to be a good person.”

For those of you think there might be an early verbal to a school, think again.  Wall stated, “I will wait until spring before I make a decision, that hasn’t changed.  I’m still wide open.”

Walls list of schools – Duke, NCSU, Baylor, Memphis, Kansas, Oregon, Clemson

His team’s first game – November 28th [/private]